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High Court to rule on Sutent access


Jean Murphy, a 62-year-old grandmother from Salford, UK, is today taking her battle to receive treatment for metastatic renal carcinoma to the High Court after being denied access to life-prolonging Sutent (sunitinib) by her local Primary Care Trust.

Jean, who has previously suffered from breast cancer, acts as carer for her husband, Michael, who suffers from Crohn’s disease and diabetes.

She now suffers from advanced renal cancer. Her treating consultant recommended that she be treated with the drug sunitinib (Sutent). This drug is in fact available through Salford Primary Care Trust, but only where exceptional circumstances can be established.

Sutent drug would been available had Jean lived down the road in Merseyside or Cheshire.

An application was made to Salford Primary Care Trust for funding to be granted to Jean so that she could commence treatment using Sutent.  A decision was made by the Trust’s Commissioning Panel not to grant funding.  That decision was upheld by the Process Review Panel.

Proceedings have been instituted at the High Court in London on Jean’s behalf, seeking to challenge the decision of the Salford Primary Care Trust not to fund Sutent and in the interim, for the Trust to at least allow Jean to start treatment with Sutent.

Sutent hit the headlines last summer when it emerged that British broadcaster Tony Wilson – who later died of a heart attack – had to rely on showbiz friends to pay for the drug because health bosses wouldn’t.

The case will be heard today in London at the Royal Courts of Justice before The Honourable Mr Justice Bennett

Mark McGhee, Partner at Linder Myers Solicitors in Manchester, and who will be at court tomorrow with the family, said: “Jean has throughout her life devoted herself to her family and country. The least that we can do tomorrow is to put her case forward to the court as best we can. If anyone deserves to have this treatment, it is Jean.”


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